As we all enjoyed the recent talk by Commander Philip Unwin, RN about the SS Great Britain, it seemed a good idea to actually visit the ship herself. There seemed to be plenty of support for the idea and we had a vacant Sunday in June, due to another event we were going to being cancelled.
Consequently, on the morning of Sunday 23rd June, 21 of us gathered at Gordano Services to go in convoy down to the ship. Considering the horrendous weather we had endured over the previous weeks, it turned out to be a warm and sunny morning for the journey.
Everyone negotiated the complex route across Cumberland Basin and all arrived safely at the ship, where we were joined by 2 other cars that had travelled directly to the car park. We were given special permission to park immediately outside the museum and our steward Jacob was on hand to let us into the parking area.
We all made our way into the museum and had a brief introduction by our guide Bob, before being led up to the Hayward Saloon on board ship, where we were to have lunch. As we all had to choose from the same menu option, the Engineer’s Tuck was felt to be the most suitable and this was quickly served along with any drinks that had been chosen. Cake then followed for those that had chosen it along with Tea & Coffee.
We than met up with Bob again for our tour round the ship. We saw the Ladies’ Saloon, First Class dining area, cabins, galley (complete with rats), surgeon’s cabin, barber’s cabin and up on deck the area reserved for First Class passengers. It was quite evident how small the cabins were and the bunks in particular; as the ship tended to roll a lot this helped to keep the passengers from falling out of their bunks apparently.
After our Tour, we were then free to wander back through the Dockyard Museum, go ‘under water’ and see the keel and understand a bit more about Brunel in the ‘Being Brunel’ museum. Then it was back to the cars for the journey home just as a few drops of rain were starting to appear.